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McDAAG Day One Notes: Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney turn heads at Powerade Jam Fest


McDonald’s All-American Game festivities tipped off yesterday, and future Kentucky Wildcats Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney made sure their presence was known from the jump.

The Wildcat duo, both suiting up for the West squad this week, got things started on Monday morning with their first practice, followed by a brief media opportunity. Yesterday evening, Maxey and Whitney each participated in the Powerade Jam Fest event, where they both turned heads.

Let’s dive right in.

Practice/Media Availability

With over 90 NBA scouts in Atlanta watching the top high school basketball players in America compete, both Wildcats participating this week let those watching know that they are two of the most impressive players in high school basketball.

For Maxey, it was his elite shooting ability and competitive nature that had onlookers fascinated.

Here are just a few of the reactions:

Here is Maxey’s entire highlight tape from this morning, where his ridiculous shooting stroke separated himself from his peers:

As for Whitney, while his athleticism and defensive intensity is always the center of attention, his improved jump shot was also quite impressive.

Here is one look at it:

And another look:

As early as last year, Whitney had a Hamidou Diallo-like hitch in his shot that really hurt his ability to find consistency as a shooter. He has always been able to drive and finish in the paint, but opponents could neutralize him a bit on the floor by sagging off of him and forcing him to work from the outside.

Now that he has tweaked his form and has developed that muscle memory, he has truly become a threat on all three levels of the floor. Every time I watch him play (especially now) I see a more-advanced Jaylen Brown at this stage. Going into college, Brown was a low-30s 3-point shooter, and he followed it up with a “meh” 29.4 percent clip in his lone season at Cal-Berkeley.

In the NBA, though, Brown has shot 36.3 percent from three over the course of his career and has become just enough of a consistent threat to keep defenders.

If he’s even an above-average perimeter shooter at Kentucky, the rest of his game will more than make up for it.

As far as media availability is concerned, we only got about ten minutes or so for quick interviews after practice, so it’s slim-pickings with news (from yesterday, at least).

The biggest updates of the day, though, are as follows:

  • 2019 five-star forward Matthew Hurt will make a decision on April 19, down to Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Memphis, and Minnesota. He’s still working on visits to Memphis and Minnesota, and he claims all six schools are on equal ground.
  • 2019 five-star forward Jaden McDaniels still has no idea where he wants to go and has no timeline for a decision.
  • Kahlil Whitney talked about how excited he is to get pushed to the limit by John Calipari in Lexington, says the elite competition makes him want to get on campus as soon as possible.
  • Tyrese Maxey believes Kentucky is going to win the national title this year, says he thinks his group can make another run next year. Still recruiting a piece or two to close out the 2019 class.

As far as light-hearted content is concerned, Jake Rosen of JakeInThePaint.com sat down with Maxey and asked him about his favorite food, movies, music, and more.

You can check that out here:

With Media Day taking place this afternoon, we’ll have more time to talk with the players, where I’ll be able to ask more Kentucky-specific questions to those in attendance. Be on the lookout for that in a bit.

Powerade Jam Fest

After practice and media opportunities, we packed into buses and drove to Wheeler High School (EJ Montgomery’s former school) in Marietta, GA for the Powerade Jam Fest.

There, Maxey competed in the Legends and Stars Shootout, where he absolutely dominated the event.

After going 1/2 from the 3-point line (both shots looked good, if we’re being honest), the future Wildcat jogged over to the half-court line and drilled it in one attempt.

Take a look:

No one else came close. Maxey ran away with the easy victory in this one.

From there, Kahlil participated in the Slam Dunk Contest, where he unleashed his ridiculous athleticism.

On his first attempt, Superman cape and all, Whitney got Maxey to toss him an alley-oop off the backboard:

On his second attempt, Whitney went with the self-oop back-scratcher, where his entire head was above the rim.

Maxey also helped out future Florida Gator Scottie Lewis in his insane dunk attempt:

This was the contest-winning dunk from Stanford women’s basketball commit Francesca Belibi:

Overall, it was a fun event and the Cats looked impressive in the national spotlight.

Evening Media Opportunity

After the Powerade Jam Fest, Maxey, along with Belibi, five-star recruit Cole Anthony, and Notre Dame women’s basketball signee Samantha Brunelle, each talked to the media about their performance.

Maxey, in particular, talked about his Lewis jumping over him in the Dunk Contest, his favorite dunk from the night, and practicing specifically for the half-court attempt in the Legends and Stars Shootout.

Take a look:

Practice will be from 9:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. this morning followed by Media Day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I’ll have several updates with all the footage, interviews, and analysis you could ever need throughout the day.

See you then.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

4 responses to “McDAAG Day One Notes: Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney turn heads at Powerade Jam Fest”

  1. rosquirto

    I really like the personality is maxey. He’s is going to be a fun player to root for and follow

  2. Corder

    Got to love equality. Scottie Lewis goes out there and throws down some great dunks and because a girl can dunk the ball she wins no mater what.

  3. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots

    Scottie Lewis had one of the best dunk contests in the history of this event. It’s a shame they GAVE it to someone else. Next thing you know Isiah Thomas will be in the dunk contest and lower the rim to 7 feet because there is no rule that it was to be at 10 feet

  4. shelby

    Girls need to have their own dunk contest